Now that Congress has reconvened to continue work on urgent foreign policy challenges — from the North Korean nuclear threat to our continued role in Afghanistan to the challenge of a rising China — we hope Republicans and Democrats will support funding for diplomacy and development as vital tools of national security.

More than 70 years ago, in the wake of the horrors of World War II, President Harry Truman addressed a United Nations Conference in San Francisco. He challenged Americans and our international partners “to rise above personal interests, and adhere to those lofty principles, which benefit all mankind.”

After witnessing the destruction of two world wars, the rise of fascism and the horrors of genocide, Truman and the country sought a new world order rooted in international institutions and fashioned by rules shared across nations. He considered this necessary to promote global stability, foster shared prosperity and uphold individual dignity — and to avoid another major conflict that would ultimately “crush all civilization.”

The State Department and our development programs are not partisan initiatives but rather a united, national effort to ensure peace abroad and project American beliefs to the world. All Americans benefit from this greater stability and prosperity.

Americans again are facing challenging times, but we must avoid the temptation to turn away from the world. If we’re to succeed in a challenging global environment at inspiring others through the power of our example, we have to provide robust funding for the State Department and USAID. Without the tools of diplomacy and development, we run the risk of ceding the moral high ground that generations of Americans have fought so hard to secure.   

Read the full op-ed here.